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At Tamil Nadu Rally, Rahul Calls PM Modi 'Formidable Enemy,' Slams CM Palaniswami for 'Surrender'

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at St. Xavier's College at Palayamkottai in Tirunelveli district, Sunday. (PTI)

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at St. Xavier's College at Palayamkottai in Tirunelveli district, Sunday. (PTI)

Alleging Modi remote-controlled Palaniswami, Gandhi said the PM does not understand that he cannot control Tamil Nadu through the Chief Minister.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday described Prime Minister Narendra Modi a 'formidable enemy' who 'crushed' his opponents and vowed to send him to political oblivion by following the path of love and non-violence. Accusing Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami of 'bowing' and 'surrendering' to the Prime Minister, Gandhi, addressing public meetings and road shows said the CM does not work for Modi but the people of the state.

"I don't care if the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu has a history of corruption. I want to know why he does not stand up to Narendra Modi," he said. Rahul Gandhi is touring southern Tamil Nadu for the second day today as part of his second leg of campaign for the April 6 Assembly polls. Congress is an ally of the main opposition DMK in Tamil Nadu and BJP is a partner of the ruling AIADMK.

During an interaction with professors at the St Xavier College here, Gandhi said he counted on people's support to defeat the BJP. When a participant wanted to know if Gandhi felt it was possible to nudge the Modi government to implement his 'good ideas' rather than waiting to assume power which seemed 'Utopian', he said it could be done with the 'powerful' and 'valuable' support of the people.

It was important to dream big, though some of it may not come true, he said in an obvious reference to snatching the reins of power from the BJP at the Centre. Continuing, he said, "yes we are fighting a formidable enemy (Modi). We are fighting an enemy that is dominating the money in this country. We are fighting an enemy that is crushing its opponents. But we have done this before. We have defeated a much bigger enemy (British) than this new enemy that has come." Recalling the country's independence movement, he said the Britishers were much more powerful than Modi would ever be.

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"Who is Narendra Modi in comparison to the British empire? Nobody.. People of this country sent the British empire back and in the same way we will send Narendra Modi back to Nagpur (RSS headquarters in Maharashtra)," he said. Apparently, he meant that Modi would go into political oblivion after defeat by the Congress with people's support.

Gandhi said this would be achieved without any hatred, anger or violence towards PM Modi or his party even if they may 'abuse' or unleash 'violence' against them. Former Chief Minister and Congress stalwart K Kamaraj implemented the mid-day meal scheme for school children after listening to the voice of the people and later that plan was replicated by the rest of the nation, the Lok Sabha MP said.

Though economists initially dubbed it a bad idea, later they changed their stand and welcomed it as a good initiative. "That is the type of leadership we want (in Tamil Nadu).

A leader who listens to and believes in the wisdom of the people." A most important trait for such a leader should be a commitment to defend Tamil language, culture and tradition, the Congress leader said. "We do not want somebody who sells out the people of TN.

That is the main issue in the election." If Palaniswami wanted people's votes, he should stop bowing and surrendering in front of Modi and rather surrender himself to the people and he should only then solicit the support of the general public, he said. The Congress leader said he looked forward to a state government that worked for the poorest people and realised Tamil Nadu's full potential and yet again be a model for the rest of the nation.

Alleging Modi remote-controlled Palaniswami, the Congress MP said the Prime Minister does not understand that he cannot control Tamil Nadu through the Chief Minister. Only the people determined their future, he said. "When PM says that one history, one culture, and one language should dominate this country, he insults every single Tamil person." India is home to several religions, languages and cultures and Modi should respect diverse cultures and faiths.

Palaniswami should not accept Modi's views on Tamil Nadu,' he said apparently reiterating his accusation that the Prime Minister slighted Tamil and its culture. Interacting with salt pan workers, he alleged that disparity in wealth distribution has become much stronger during the BJP rule at the Centre.